Editorial: To Manage Anxiety, It’s Best Not to Listen to Donald Trump

In the age of COVID-19, the coronavirus, it’s best not to listen to Donald Trump if one wants to stay safe and keep anxiety at a reasonable level. Several major news networks and radio stations have come to this conclusion, as have many of the American people.
Radio station KUOW, in Washington State, has decided it will no longer air Trump’s daily coronavirus task briefings.
In a tweet on March 24, the station said, “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners.”

“However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”

As an example of the president’s litany of falsehoods, for weeks, he has promised that more coronavirus testing supplies would arrive “by the end of the week.” Though more have been delivered to states in recent days, the country still falls terrifyingly short of what is needed in order to have a true picture of how widespread the virus is, and where it is most concentrated.

In spite of the dearth of testing supplies, however, Trump claimed in his Wednesday Coronavirus Task Force briefing that Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, had remarked to him, “Your testing procedures are amazing.”

Many Americans have grown weary—and wary—of Donald Trump’s regular offerings of misstatements, exaggerations, and false claims. As the country continues to await a sufficient number of the promised tests; as medical personnel continue to forage for the promised masks and personal protective equipment; as hospitals scramble for more ventilators; as state governors plead with the president for help in the form of funding, human capital, lifesaving equipment, and even consistent and honest messaging; Donald Trump has told them it’s up to them to help themselves.

The federal government, said Trump, “is not a shipping clerk.”

At one daily briefing, Trump told Americans that he had decided to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would give the Trump administration the power to direct U.S. industry to quickly produce emergency medical provisions. As the number of coronavirus cases in America increases exponentially, and as Americans continue to wait in fear and anxiety, Donald Trump continues to refrain from actually triggering the statute that could provide relief.

Trump’s daily briefings are little more than self-aggrandizing soliloquy with sprinklings of mockery for a selected country, leader, or other perceived foe. What Americans have not heard from Donald Trump, however, is a real, genuine, believable message that he cares about them.

When a news correspondent asked him what his message would be for Americans who are scared, Trump barked, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter.… It is a bad signal that you are putting out.”

Trump’s empty promises and lack of action are dangerous, but so are his proclamations. A couple of weeks ago, he began touting an existing drug as a “game-changer” for treating COVID-19; the drug is currently used for malaria and for autoimmune diseases, but is only in the beginning stages of trials for use with the coronavirus. As a result of Trump’s promotion of the drug, there is now a national shortage of it.

Despite medical experts’ warnings, physicians across the country have written prescriptions for themselves, and their families and friends, hoarding the unproven drug and prompting several states to pass laws to regulate how it may be prescribed and limiting quantities. Those who already depend on this drug every day to treat their autoimmune diseases are having difficulty obtaining the amounts they need.

Trump has said numerous times that the drug was “perfectly safe.” However, one elderly couple who believed him took a form of the drug that is not safe for human consumption. The husband died, and the wife is now hospitalized and in critical condition.

In recent days, Trump has taken to telling Americans he wants the country to be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” despite the data that shows the pandemic could be in a worse state by then. This idea to put an end to the current “stay home and practice social distancing” precautions and “get people back to work” by Easter has picked up momentum with a few politicians, as medical experts scramble to try to convince Trump that the idea is not only ridiculous, but deadly.

As one employee of NBC News said about Trump’s falsehoods and anxiety-producing statements, “I think the best way to handle the president in the briefing is that you handle the president like you handle the virus. He has to be contained and quarantined and his falsehoods have to be scrubbed so that they don’t rub off on you.”

Trump at odds with medical experts over coronavirus precautions end date | CBS This Morning [2020-03-25]

Heated exchange between Trump and reporters over coronavirus |
Politico [2020-03-20]

Editorial: Donald Trump’s Malignant Narcissism Is Costing Lives

I’ve dealt with more than one malignant narcissist in my lifetime. One thing I’ve noticed about all of them is that, as with malignant narcissist Donald Trump, they lie without a care that five minutes later you’re likely to discover their lie, or that even as the lie comes out of their mouths, you’ll realize they’re lying.
They’re addicted to lying, because in the moment, it’s a rush for them. For a moment, their extraordinary lie gets them that hero worship they crave. They know that as long as they hold their enablers, say, the MAGAs, under their spell by making them feel “special,” they’ll be forgiven over and over for lying as long as they continue promising the next “thrill” for their enabler. God forbid that someone should stand up to their nonsense….The challenger had better be ready to be humiliated, mocked, belittled, and ostracized.
As I watched Donald Trump lie so irresponsibly yesterday about a drug that will be “available immediately” for the coronavirus, I saw Dr. Birx’ expression change ever so subtlely behind Trump as this feckless claim came out of his mouth.
And as Stephen Hahn, the head of the FDA, diplomatically clarified that, no, it wasn’t approved for coronavirus yet, and it was only in early trials, and it may be months, and it may not even work, I thought to myself, it doesn’t even matter that Trump was caught in this dangerous lie. As they always do, as with all of the other deliberate lies he’s told, his enablers, the MAGAs, will pour fuel on the gaslight that will follow when Trump says—and he will —“I never said that.”
And when we do get to the end of this crisis, whether or not this or another drug is found effective for managing the Coronavirus, Donald Trump, despite his lies, his ineptness, and his narcissism that directly led to the chaotic crisis we’re in now, and despite the heroic actions that local and state governments were compelled to take in response to the incompetence of our leader, the MAGAs will hail Donald Trump as the hero.
Donald Trump has been completely successful at creating a cult that believes that he is the source of all Truth. Disagreement, challenge, and questioning are not tolerated.
Because Trump’s base are so programmed to believe Trump, no matter what, they believed him when he said this virus was being politicized by the Democrats (“their latest hoax”). They put their faith in him when he said that it was nothing to worry about, instead of believing the science that warned of its potential deadliness. Some of them took the lie further and propagated additional and more outlandish conspiracy theories. The most dangerous conspiracy theory, though, was that “the media” (and, of course, the “liberals”) were exaggerating it all, it wasn’t as bad as the flu, and they should all continue “living their lives.”
Even now, though Donald Trump has finally acknowledged the threat of this virus, many of his devout find themselves unable to make that sharp turn along with him. But in the event that they do, Donald Trump has already provided them with the lie that they can use as their lifeline: his statement, “I’ve been saying all along that this was a pandemic.”
In the meantime, however, these are the people who have actively worked to convince their fellow humans that taking precautions was stupid. They posted memes; they parroted the latest pronouncements from Fox News. They asked each other, “has anyone actually KNOWN someone with the coronavirus?” (No? then it MUST be a conspiracy.) These are the people who have flouted safety and good sense, and stubbornly “lived their lives,” endangering all of the rest of us as we try our futile best to prevent its spread.
And now, even if Donald Trump’s enablers do come around to realizing that this is all real, it may not be soon enough. It’s already too late for so many of the people who tried to warn them. They can only hope that they weren’t responsible for 1, 5, 25 or more casualties or deaths, as they heeded their leader’s message and “lived their lives.” What is the promised thrill from their leader at this point?

Trump Supporters Believe Coronavirus Could Be A ‘Nothing Burger’ | NBC News [2020-02-28]

10 times Trump downplayed the coronavirus | Washington Post